The holidays can be bittersweet for many of us. This is a time to enjoy get-togethers with loved ones, family members that you haven't seen in a year, and close friends. That is the "sweet" of it all. What is the bitter? The bitter can come in many ways. The holidays can remind us of our financial challenges or perhaps serve as a painful reminder that you are single yet another year. Or – for some – the holidays remind us that a loved one is no longer with us to enjoy them. The holidays bring out many emotions, good and bad and you may be asking yourself, "How can I make this a sweet holiday season?" I don't have all the answers, but I can tell you how I have conquered the bitter of the holiday and made it only sweet. Here are a few suggestions that might help you.
First, always have an attitude of gratitude. Many years ago after a bad divorce, I had some financial challenges and became a single mother of two small little girls. I didn't have much, but that didn't stop me from looking on the bright side of things. Instead of focusing on what I didn't have or what I was going through, I focused on all that I did have. I was thankful for my health, my strength, and that I was in my right mind ( I could have easily been in a hospital because of how bad my divorce was). And, most importantly, I was thankful that I had two beautiful little girls who didn't have a care in the world – they just wanted love! I was so blessed despite what was going on in my life. The bad became small and the good became big for me.
Secondly, create a new normal for yourself. Yes, it may sound easier said than done, but you can do it. I lost my oldest sister in December of 2014 and that completely turned my world upside down. Deborah was the one who would love the holidays and make sure everyone got together and had a great time! But what I had to do was find my new normal with the loss of my sister. I decided to keep her legacy and tradition going and now I host most of the holiday get-togethers. No, it's not the same, but it definitely helps the healing process by keeping something alive that was so important to Deborah. It's a constant reminder of the impact she had on our family and I still feel that she is with us and is smiling down on us as she watches us continue her tradition. I know she is in heaven telling me that I am doing it wrong (ha!), but that's okay – it's my new normal.
Third, be in the moment. Enjoy the present. Don't look back at the past or be concerned with the future, just enjoy the now. Sometimes we get so caught up in what needs to happen or what has happened in life that we forget to be in the moment. Slow down, take a deep breath, and just feel your way through the now.
Hopefully these suggestions can help turn your bitter into sweet and you can enjoy your holiday season this year.